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Sugar & Spice Bake Shoppe

This place is the BOMB! If your looking for a totally unusual cake…this IS the place!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake, Raspberry Mousse Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, Boston Cream, Tiramisu, Banana Cream Cake, wow…I could go on and on! They don’t just ice with the usual confectioners frosting…they use mousse filling on the inside which is super delicious.

A super variety of cupcakes, pastries, cake slices, cookies, you name it!

This place makes any cake you can imagine!

Sugar & Spice Bake Shoppe
4 South Broadway    Rt 28
Salem NH 03079

Blog/ Front Page/ Home Page/ Restaurant & Market Reviews

Cotton Restaurant – Manchester NH

What can I say…Cotton is a great place to meet friends and relatives, have some fantastic Martini’s, and a great opportunity to enjoy some great food by Chef/Owner/Author Jeffrey Paige. Jeffrey is passionate about using local foods and working with local people who are passionate about their products. Before Cotton, Jeffrey was Executive Chef at Canterbury Shaker Village, one of two remaining active Shaker communities left in the world at the time. I had the pleasure to eat at the Shaker Village years ago when Jeffrey was there, and remember vividly what I had…a Chicken Stew over a super light, tender biscuit. Doesn’t sound like anything much in Culinary circles, but I have to say that was damn near the “best thing I ever ate”! I still remember it to this day. Ever since eating there, and finding out who the chef was, I remember the name Jeffrey Paige.

He brings the same perfection to Cotton. Simple, comfort food in a cozy, upscale, atmosphere, all made with the freshest, local ingredients. A true American Bistro. Everyone knows the quality of the end result, relies entirely on the quality of the ingredients.

He has also written cookbooks on Canterbury Village and Cotton.

On our most recent visit, I started with a Cosmopolitan which was delicious. We shared a Farmhouse Salad, and ask for Buttermilk dressing and Balsamic dressing. Both dressings were delicious, and both were home made. The salad was also delicious and included sliced egg,  Maplewood bacon and huge chunks of Pineland Farms Cheddar cheese. Plenty for two it was the perfect starter. For dinner we both ordered the Brandt Flat Iron steak, which came with mashed potatoes and a choice of demi glace or flavored butters. Veggie of the day was also included. The steak was very flavorful and tender. All meals come with Sourdough bread and butter.

It was a great evening, as has been every visit we have made to Cotton. We are definitely going to have to make it there in the Summer so we can sit outside.

As for me, I have to get busy locating one of those Shaker Kitchen cookbooks….I’m still thinking about the wonderful lunch I had years ago!


Restaurant & Market Reviews

Review of Fiorella’s Cucina

We’ve been going to Fiorella’s Cucina for years. We have seen it grow, into one of the most popular restaurants in the area. We have a drive to get there, but try to frequent as much as we can. Over the years, they have put on an addition, added a handicap ramp, and added many items to the menu. All are super delicious! Now, opening this month is a new location, Concord MA. They also have other Express locations in other metro Boston areas.

When you walk in, you are greeted by a welcoming hostess. You can’t help but notice the open kitchen and wood fired oven right as you walk in. You are welcomed by the sights and aroma of the various dishes being cooked.

There are several areas for seating including the cozy outdoor patio weather permitting. They host many large parties, showers, anniversaries, etc.

The wait staff is very attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable about the various dishes offered.  The menu has a wide range of offerings from seafood specialties, steaks, pizzas and traditional pasta dishes.

From the start, they bring you a basket of breadsticks, and their famous Marinara sauce to dip with.  These incredible breadsticks are the best thing you’ve ever eaten! Baked in the wood oven, they are topped with cheese and garlic. Delicious.

Fiorella’s Wood Fired Oven

For appetizers, I have had fish chowder, their famous Wedding Soup, Caesar Salad, to name a few. I have had just about everything on the menu over the years, but the entrees that stand out for me are the Scallops Lemoncello, Steak Pizzaiola (which was by the way, the best steak I’ve ever had), Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Marsala, and Baked Haddock. There is literally something for everyone here.

My husband had his usual Veal Parmesan for dinner, which he said was excellent as usual, but wished he had adventured into getting the Steak Pizzaiola as well, when he saw mine. The steak is not on the regular menu, its a special so watch the specials to see when it is available.

They now have their famous Marinara sauce bottled, ready to take home.

If you’re in the Newtonville area, or now in the Concord area (which I will visit as soon as it opens), don’t miss a visit to Fiorella’s. It’s one of a kind!

Fiorella’s Cucina
187 North St
Newtonville, Massachusetts 02460
(617) 969-9990

Fiorella’s Cucina
24 Walden Street
Concord, MA 01742




Blog/ Farm Stands & Specialty Markets/ Front Page/ Home Page/ Restaurant & Market Reviews

David’s Fish Market & Lobster

David's Fish Market & Lobster

If you are in the Salisbury, MA area,and in the mood for super fresh seafood, you’ve gotta stop by David’s Fish Market & Lobster, for a huge selection of seafood.

They’ve got everything here…..lobsters, haddock, cod, clams, mussels, shrimp, swordfish, salmon, striped bass, crabs, halibut and much more. The white fish is huge, giving you those super thick filets, that are desired when baking or sauteing/frying fish.

It is extremely hard to find markets that specialize in fresh seafood these days for some reason. This market is a great find as it has everything you need, and is the freshest possible.




Beef/ Restaurant & Market Reviews

Review of Dinnerhorn Restaurant in Portsmouth, NH

We’ve been going to Dinnerhorn in historic Portsmouth NH for years. In other words, every time you go, you can expect the same great quality as you got the last time you were there.

Dinnerhorn is a family owned business owned by the Kamakas family since 1960. Their claim of having the freshest seafood around has been proven by the many, many times we have been here. Never, have we had a bad dining experience at the Dinnerhorn.

They are located on busy and scenic Route 1 in Portsmouth NH, right down the street from where the renowned Yoken’s Restaurant used to be.

Their dining room is cozy, comfortable and welcoming, with a fireplace to make it even cozier in the cooler months. A lot of the staff have been there for years, therefore know the menu selections inside and out, should you have any questions. They are friendly and very attentive.

They offer seafood in every form, baked, fried or sauteed. Their Prime Rib is the best around, which come with a generous portion of beefy Au Jus, their steaks are tender and juicy. Their Shrimp Cocktail is some of the biggest I’ve seen! They also have pasta dishes and pizza if your in the mood. In the mood for a Lobster Roll?, they’ve got those too! Their clam chowder is creamy and delicious and freshly made.

So, when you’re in the area on vacation or just a day trip, make sure to stop in the Dinnerhorn. Whether you’re in the mood for the freshest seafood around or a tender juicy steak, you won’t be disappointed!





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Francesco’s Ristorante


I’ve been going to Francesco’s Ristorante occasionally now for quite a few years. The creature of habit that I am, they even know what I like to drink, and where I want to sit.


Francesco’s is quaint, family run business, where quality is obviously the most important factor. And that’s not just words on a paper, it is words they live by. And the food reflects it.

From the start, you get a warm welcome, mostly from owner Ari, who  makes you feel welcome and at home.

After you’re seated, your welcomed again by a waiter that fills your water glasses (and keeps them filled). Your waiter welcomes you with the specials of the night.

The martini’s and drinks are always perfect, and they even offer 25% off bottles of wine as of this writing.


The bread is phenominal! Truly Artisan Bread, with a crispy “fresh out of the oven” crust, tender, warm, moist interior. It is served with olive oil for dipping, or butter. Save some for your salad if you order one, the bread is perfect for sopping up leftover Balsamic dressing. If a restaurant pays that much attention to the bread, you know you’re in for a treat!

Usually I go right for the main course, but occasionally I order an appetizer. Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE Shrimp Cocktail. I have ordered in many, many places, and most are a disappointment. Either they’re too small, no where near cold enough, or taste like iodine. I have had them several time at Francesco’s, and every time they are a really good size, super cold (as they should be), and tasty. Recently, during the Taste of Hartford, I tried the Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms. WOW, they were the BEST Stuffed Mushrooms I have ever tasted. They are stuffed with a yummy Seafood Stuffing, and served with an equally yummy Gorgonzola Sauce. The sauce alone is so delicious, you’ll want to sop it up with your bread!

Francesco's Ristarante Hartford CT |

As for entree’s, I have had the Chicken Picatta, Chicken Marsala, several fish specials of the day, and on those nights I feel like eating “healthy”, they even offer a deliciously seasoned sauteed boneless breast of chicken with some fresh sauteed veggies. Hubby says the Chicken Parmesan is the BEST he’s tasted. Generally Penne is is served on the side with most entrees, which come with a Vodka sauce. They also offer the best Marinara I’ve tasted.

Francesco's Ristarante Hartford CT |

They also offer Cappuccino, Lemoncello, after dinner appetifs, and oh…those delicious desserts!

Francesco's Ristarante Hartford CT |

In the warmer months, the patio is open for alfresco dining. The Lounge is perfect for watching your favorite team on one of three big screen TV’s, while enjoying a delicious meal!

During the week, lunch is also offered, featuring a selection of Panini & Wraps, Entrees & Pasta Specialties. What a perfect way to take a break from a stressful workday, than to sit on the patio with a delicious wrap, cool beverage and warm sunshine and fresh air!


If this isn’t enough, they also offer a Banquet Facility that seats up to 65 people. Perfect for your next Business Meeting, Social Gathering, Holiday Party, Mercy Meal, Bridal Shower or Stag Party.

Off street parking is available right at the restaurants front door.

See for yourself what Francesco’s Ristorante has to offer… You’ll see why many describe it as “The BEST Little Italy Hartford” has to offer. It will be a meal to remember!

318 Franklin Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
Phone: 860-296-3024 | 860-956-8198








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Rosaria’s Restaurant

Rosaria Steakhouse |

Wow! Literally 5 stars in my book! And anyone who knows me, knows that “its all about the food”! I generally don’t get super impressed with a fancy restaurant with mediocore food. Well this place is gorgeous inside…a place you can go dressy casual and feel just as cozy as dressy. It’s not the “stuffy” kind of place, that if your not dressed to the nines your out of place. No, no, no. This is the kind of place that their number one priority is food…good food, great food, quality food…and they hit their mark on all of the above. Now I’ve been their quite a few times, and EVERY time has been right on point. That says a LOT for a restaurant, when they’re consistent!

Rosaria Steakhouse |

The prices for the steaks are relative to the quality…corn-fed aged Midwestern Prime grade cuts of Filet Mignon, New York Sirloin and bone-in Prime rib-eye, and are worth every penny. If you want a true quality, tasty, super, super tender steak….this is your place. Hubby has got steak every time, and every time it has been super tender, tasty and cooked to perfection.  I’ve been to all of the high end chain steak houses, and they are exactly that…chains. Prices are high, quality is not there, consistency is all over the place, and servers just want to do their thing and go home.

Rosaria Steakhouse Bar |

I get Chicken Piccata (surprise!). The chicken is always fork tender, juicy, an tasty. The sauce is super lemony and the perfect consistency. We also always share Shrimp Cocktail, which are HUGE, icy cold (as they should be), with a tasty and spicy cocktail sauce. Rolls are warm, fresh and tasty.

The drinks are super delicious too.  Martini’s come in a decanter surrounded with crushed ice to keep icy cold. There’s even al fresco dining in the warmer months.

Now for the servers….We have had several different servers, and all of them have been very helpful and friendly. They all seem to enjoy their job. They all remember you when you come back, and make you feel very welcome. And we have been there when they have had several functions at the same time. The service for the restaurant patrons never suffered. And Luigi, the manager, is super friendly and accommodating.

If your looking for a restaurant for an enjoyable event and delicious food, this is your place.

Rosaria Facebook

Rosaria Website

Northshore Magazine Article

Rosaria | 190 Main Street | Saugus, MA 01906 | 781-558-2759

Blog/ Cookouts/ Front Page/ Home Page/ Pasta/ Restaurant & Market Reviews/ Salads/ Side Dishes

Grilled Veg Pasta Salad

Grilled Veg Pasta Salad |

I pinned this Grilled Veg Pasta Salad on Pinterest a while ago from Better Homes and Gardens site, and knew I had to make it!

Grilled Veg Pasta Salad |

It features lots of seasonal grilled veggies, pasta, and some great Balsamic dressing. What’s not to like?

Basil Plant |

I threw in some fresh basil from my outdoor garden; I thought it would be perfect with the Balsamic.

Grilled Veg Pasta Salad |

I was right…this salad is a great way to celebrate the great bounty of the summer. You can mix it up and put any grilled veggie you’d like, or even add some grilled chicken for a one meal summer dinner.

Next time, I would make with wheat or whole grain pasta. The balsamic turns the otherwise white pasta a darker color, so no one knows its wheat or multi grain. Otherwise, if you want the pasta to stay a white color, use White Balsamic vinegar. And you can use a smaller portion of pasta to a larger portion of veggies, if you don’t want as much pasta.

The Bread Shed Cranberry Pecan Power Bread |

The Bread Shed

Add some great bread like I did (I had it with the Bread Shed’s Cranberry Pecan Power Bread I just found this weekend), which is EXCELLENT by the way, if you’re lucky enough to be near Keene, NH! Check out their website for locations to buy their bread. You will be glad you did!

Either way you slice it, this salad is a great way to celebrate Summer!

Galvanized Individual Serving Dish |

Like this great Galvanized Individual Serving Dish? Check out my store to get your own!

Grilled Veg Pasta Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked whole grain rotini pasta
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 packet of Good Seasons Italian dry salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon dried (or 2 tablespoons fresh) oregano, chopped
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Lightly brush vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  2. For a charcoal grill, place vegetables on the rack of the grill over medium-hot coals. Cover and grill for 3 to 5 minutes for asparagus, turning once, and about 10 minutes for the zucchini, sweet pepper, and onion, turning once, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and cool slightly. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add vegetables to grill rack and grill as above.)
  3. Cut vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with pasta in a large bowl. Add remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, good seasons, salt, and black pepper to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Top with fresh oregano and, if desired, Parmesan.



Restaurant & Market Reviews

Review of Sofia’s Italian Steakhouse – West Roxbury, MA

As we start off 2013, I have made a pledge to myself to do more reviews on the many restaurants we visit to give my blog entries more diversity.

We recently found a new restaurant, Sofia’s in West Roxbury, MA. I checked out the reviews on this place, and decided to try it out. It is on the same road as Joe & Maria’s in Norwood that we loved, and had recently closed.

Walking in the door, the hostess greeted us with a cheery greeting. The interior in this place is beautiful! Dark wood, black leather seating throughout, loads of booths and fireplaces, along with another separate smaller room with a fireplace. There was another area I didn’t see until leaving. The bar area is very nice with comfortable leather stools and an area with high chairs and tables to eat at in the bar area.

Our waitress greeted us and took our drink order. She brought over some Focaccia bread and a small plate with some olives, olive oil and Hummus on it.

I ordered the Spinach Salad which was delicious. It had baby spinach, frisee, Granny Smith apple, bacon, thinly sliced red onion, shaved Parmesan cheese and white balsamic dressing. Delicious. The blending of the different flavors made my taste buds dance.

I chose the 14 oz. dry aged Strip steak, which came with hand cut french fries. The steak was cooked perfectly and was “very” tender. That is rarity these days. The prices usually do not reflect the quality of steak you get. In this case, it did. Very tasty, very tender, very good.

The hubby had the 20 oz. Prime Rib, which was cooked exactly to his liking, and super tender and flavorful. His came with silky Parmesan mashed potatoes, and Haricot Verts (French green beans).

The lighting is perfect in this restaurant, the music relaxing. The food is phenomenal, the service impeccable. Thoroughly a very enjoying experience, at a very reasonable price for the quality you receive. Really a refreshing surprise from the hoards of restaurants with high price tags and crappy quality meats.

Sophia’s is definitely a class act, and we’ll certainly be back for more!


Sofia Italian Steakhouse

1430 VFW Parkway

West Roxbury, MA 02132

Phone: (617) 469-2600


Blog/ Front Page/ Home Page/ Restaurant & Market Reviews

Review of Butcher Boy Market, No. Andover, MA

I’ve been going to Butcher Boy Market for years. It is THE only place IMO to buy the best quality meats that I know. I’ve been to many, many markets and butchers over the years and “nobody beats” Butcher Boy!

Butcher Boy Market |

There are many grades of beef out there. The higher the grade, the more tender and flavorful the beef is. Butcher Boy carries Top Choice meats. Their steaks are tasty, delicious and tender. I am hard pressed to find a tastier and more tender steak in any restaurant. I’ve been to “prime steakhouses” before and have not had a more tender steak than they carry.

They also have a huge deli with top quality deli meats and cheeses.

Their produce is the same high quality as their meats.

Butcher Boy is literally a One Stop Shop. Oh, and did I mention, they ship anywhere? You won’t be disappointed you stopped here!

Butcher Boy Market |



My Travels/ Restaurant & Market Reviews

Review of Andino’s Italian Restaurant in Providence, RI

Review of Andino’s Italian Restaurant in Providence, RI

My husband and I drive all around searching for the ultimate restaurants. A hour and a half drive is not out of the question. So, we’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants. There are very few that stand out above the rest. One of them is Andino’s Italian Restaurant in Providence, RI. We’ve been there many times. And there quality is right there every time.

This last time, we went for a late lunch, early dinner. We were in the area, and just couldn’t pass by the exit without stopping in. Andino’s is located in the Federal Hill area of Providence. If you haven’t been there, it is a quaint area, rich with Italian restaurants, food shops and bakeries. The La Pigna sculpture, a traditional symbol of welcome, abundance and quality, hangs from the center arches, with pineapples on them greet you on Atwells Avenue.

La Pigna Sculpture

La Pigna Sculpture

Within a short walk, you can go to Scialo Bakery, Tony’s Colonial Food Store and Venda Ravioli to name a few. In the warmer months, you can dine outside in many of the restaurants or at Depasquale Plaza. Its truly a great place to sit, and relax, and enjoy life.

DePasquale Plaza

DePasquale Plaza


Tonys Colonial Food Store

Tony’s Colonial Food Store

As in the Italian definition of the sculpture welcoming you into the neighborhood, Andino’s is truly welcoming, and their food is certainly rich in abundance and quality. You can tell in the finished product, that they use only the highest quality ingredients. Usually, when you get quality, the quantity suffers. Not here. I got Chicken Picatta here for lunch the other day, and had to bring the rest home. The Chicken Picatta was $ 10.95 for lunch. The same quality and quantity you get for dinner. We usually sit right by the window, and watch the world go by, as we enjoy our delicious meal. We got to talking to some great people at the bar who were having lunch, had some great conversation, and got some great tips on the areas great finds from the locals. It truly is a neighborhood place. This is a place you just have to try. Trust me, you will thank me later!



Chicken Picatta

Chicken Picatta – My Favorite

Chicken Pizziola

Chicken Pizziola

Andino’s Italian Restaurant
171 Atwells Ave
Providence, RI 02903
401-453-3164 or 401-421-3715



My Travels/ Restaurant & Market Reviews

Review of Joe and Maria’s Trattoria Restaurant in Norwood, MA

Joe & Maria’s Trattoria Restaurant 

I’d like to take a break from posting recipes, to my second passion…eating great food out! My husband and I have just discovered a great restaurant in the Boston area called “Joe and Maria’s Trattoria” restaurant. It’s located on Rt 1 in Norwood, MA. I’ve seen reviews for this restaurant before but never had the chance to make it there before. I’m so glad we finally made it there!

It is located in the bottom of the Hampton Inn hotel right on Route 1. Many people probably drive by it and don’t notice it as it is set back off the road. Big mistake! This place is truly a gem! It is owned and run by an Italian family…you guessed it, Joe and Maria. Oh and their boys. One of their boys, Paul, is the chef. He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, and is magnificent in the kitchen. We have been there several times, and have enjoyed everything we’ve ordered! The bar is also very nice for anyone wanting a quick bite to eat. The decor is very nice. The dining room is cozy and comfortable. That is really important to me, as I don’t know how anyone can enjoy a meal if they are not comfortable in their surroundings. I don’t know about you, but I am not very comfortable in those Boston restaurants when they squeeze you into tables that are on top of each other. If I wanted to go out to eat with strangers, I would. The wait staff are very professional, knowledgeable , and very friendly.

Scallop Caprese

We have had the Wedding Soup and Clam Chowder, both made from scratch. Yes, home made. The meatballs in the Wedding Soup we delicious. It’s the first time I’ve had meatballs in Wedding Soup that tasted like anything! That’s pretty tough to do since they’re so small. The Clam Chowder had big pieces of clams and the broth was delicious. We had the dinner salad which was ice cold and had a home made creamy balsamic dressing. We’ve also had the Panzanella Salad which was IMO over the top delicious! It was warm toasted bread, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, buffalo mozzarella, and Parmesan Reggiano served over a bed of spring mix with delicious home made dressing. One word, delicious! The bread and oil that is served is “home made” bread. Also delicious.


For entrees, we have had the Veal Parmesan, which was very tender, breaded perfectly and topped with Marinara and fresh Buffalo Mozzarella. It served with linguini. The portion was generous. My husband has had the 14 oz. Black Angus Sirlion twice. Both times the steak was melt in your mouth (his exact words)! It comes with Cabernet Sauvignon demi glace, and either garlic and herb or cajun rubbed. I thought that meant that the outside of the steak had a crust of either herb/garlic or cajun. Not true. It come with a beautiful mixture of fresh herbs and fresh garlic on top of your steak. I’m not sure what the cajun is like, but sure its delicious. The steak comes with a sweet potato gratin and vegetable.  Of coarse, you can substitute the potato for what ever you like. I have had the Chicken Picatta (my favorite!) which was tender medallions of chicken, cherry tomatoes, capers, very thinly sliced sauteed mushroom in a very lemony (yum) white wine sauce, and comes with roasted potatoes and vegetable. Needless to say, I ate it all. I have also had Chicken Marsala, twice. I must tell you. Honestly, I’ve had Chicken Marsala at a number of places. None I could actually say was as good as mine. This one was. By a long shot. Paul has a knack for making the Marsala sauce taste like nothing you’ve ever had. Dark, sweet Marsala demi glaze sauce with tender chicken, thinly sliced sauteed mushroons, prosciutto and roasted garlic.

Make sure to save room for dessert. The first time we didn’t. The second time we did. The desserts are home made as well. I had the mascarpone stack, which was a combination of cake, mascarpone cheese with a raspberry filling. My husband had an apple tart, which was clearly made fresh. Delicious.

And in true tradition, we had Lemoncello at the end of our meal.


I’ve never had the pizza, but it looks delicious. They also have burgers and sandwiches.

We eat out a lot. And I mean a lot. We love to scout out different restaurants, and don’t have any problem driving to get to them. And there’s not many of them I would take the time to write about. A lot of them we’ve paid an arm and a leg, and got nothing special. This restaurant is a keeper. If your in the Boston area, you won’t be disappointed. I guarentee it.

Joe and Maria’s Menu